With Trump As "Final Straw," Immigrant and Workers' Rights Groups Gear Up for May Day Strikes

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With Trump As "Final Straw," Immigrant and Workers' Rights Groups Gear Up for May Day Strikes

"Day Without an Immigrant" aims to demonstrate critical role of immigrant labor in U.S. economy

Organizers are expecting it to be the biggest turnout for this kind of event since the 2006 immigration reform marches, which saw over a million people take to the streets in hundreds of cities across the country. (Photo: Thomas Hawk/flickr/cc)

Immigrant and workers' rights organizations on Monday announced a national strike to take place on May 1, commonly known as May Day, to demonstrate the critical role of immigrant labor in the U.S. economy.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have already pledged to participate in the strike known as the "Day Without Immigrants." Organizers are expecting it to be the biggest turnout for this kind of event since the 2006 immigration reform marches, which saw over a million people take to the streets in hundreds of cities across the country in protest of raising penalties for undocumented immigration.

This year, they will be taking a stand against the criminalization of black and brown communities, raids and deportations, and worker exploitation under President Donald Trump, who is known for his xenophobic policies and rhetoric.
"Without workers, who does Trump think will harvest the crops, craft the food, transport it to market, stock the shelves, cook in kitchens, and serve the meals?"
—Jose Oliva,
Food Chain Workers Alliance

The protests will follow a series of strikes in February, which saw thousands protesting anti-immigrant bills in Wisconsin under the banner #DayWithoutLatinos.

"May 1 is the first step in a series of strikes and boycotts that will change the conversation on immigration in the United States," said Maria Fernanda Cabello, a spokesperson from Movimiento Cosecha (Harvest Movement), on Monday.

"We believe that when the country recognizes it depends on immigrant labor to function, we will win permanent protection from deportation for the 11 million undocumented immigrants; the right to travel freely to visit our loved ones abroad; and the right to be treated with dignity and respect," she said. "After years of broken promises, raids, driving in fear of being pulled over, not being able to bury our loved ones, Trump is just the final straw. As we saw during the spontaneous strikes on February 16th, our people are ready."

Cristina Moreno, a member of UNITE HERE Tech Cafeteria Workers who has worked as a cashier for the tech giant Intel for 20 years, said, "I'm a cafeteria worker at one of Silicon Valley's biggest tech companies, Intel, and my coworkers and I organized and won significant raises and healthcare. Now, we're coming together with hundreds more cafeteria workers on May Day to stand united. Immigrants like us are the backbone of the valley's tech industry, and we won't tolerate Trump and his racist policies."

"We are a workforce made up mostly of immigrants, women, African Americans, and indigenous people," Jose Oliva of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, which will also be participating in the strike. "Without workers, who does Trump think will harvest the crops, craft the food, transport it to market, stock the shelves, cook in kitchens, and serve the meals?"

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